Sunderland-based car parts manufacturer Unipres, which makes a range of parts for vehicle manufacturers including Nissan GB and Honda UK, has seen carbon emissions on new additions to its salary sacrifice fleet fall to an average of just 78g/km.
The company operates a 61-strong vehicle fleet on a salary sacrifice basis provided by Tamworth-based car benefits and fleet management specialist, Fleet Evolution, with a growing percentage of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
Staff take-up is around 8% from an eligible workforce of around 900, and employees from machine operators to the managing director operate vehicles through the scheme, which has a carbon ceiling set at 140g/km.
However, average CO2 emission levels on the fleet have fallen to 100g/km, with 78g/km for all new models, thanks to a fleet mix that comprises 40% diesel, 40% petrol and a fast-growing 20% of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
When it comes to EVs, the company operates the Nissan Leaf, with some employees renewing their lease contracts to choose their second Leaf in a row, while the most popular plug-in hybrids are the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the BMW 330E and 530E.
To encourage EV and hybrid uptake, Unipres has added several charge points in the corporate car park so that staff can recharge their vehicles while at work.
Last year, Unipres boosted its turnover by 6% to £251.2m for the year ended December 2017 thanks largely to its close association with Nissan, Renault and Honda, with sales benefiting from the popularity of the Nissan Leaf, Qashqai and Juke and new Honda Civic.
Because of its association with both Nissan and Honda, the company is able to offer its employees a 4-7% incentive to selected models from either marque in the shape of a rebate of the Employer’s National Insurance Contributions.
On top of that, both manufacturers offer attractive discounts to Unipres employees which Fleet Evolution is able to pass on to staff in the shape of reduced monthly lease rentals.
Head of Finance and Purchasing, Andrew Fawell, said that the company’s salary sacrifice car scheme had proved very popular with staff as it opened up the prospect of having a brand new car to employees that would not qualify otherwise.
“We set the minimum requirement for the scheme so that all employees are eligible if, after their monthly salary sacrifice deduction, their wages are still above the minimum wage level, not counting overtime and shift premiums.
“The salary sacrifice model works very well for us and helps us to meet our CO2 and corporate responsibility targets. Fleet Evolution provides really good service levels and takes away all the hassle of running our fleet,” he added.
Andrew Leech, managing director of Fleet Evolution, which was awarded ‘Go Ultra Low Company’ status last November, said that the Unipress fleet was a clear example of how salary sacrifice remained a very viable and cost-effective way of providing employees with a brand new car.
“Car salary sacrifice schemes remain an extremely valuable benefit to employees due to their convenience, ease of use, absence of upfront payments and value for money – as the Unipres fleet clearly shows,” said Andrew Leech.
“As Unipres also clearly demonstrates, they genuinely promote the uptake of less polluting, more environmentally friendly cars which help companies reach their targets for carbon reduction and corporate responsibility,” he added.
Latest analysis by Fleet Evolution reveals that 82% of employees who have taken a car through one of its salary sacrifice car schemes had never run a new car before, but were typically driving 10 year old cars which were more liable to suffer expensive breakdowns.
The key features of the Fleet Evolution salary sacrifice scheme include all servicing and repair costs, road fund licence, fully comprehensive insurance, corporate discounts and no deposit.